Game’s career could be likened to the one of Nas: the Compton rapper came out with what a lot of critics called a classic, brought out a strong follow up album, survived a beef with a rapper who was known for destroying careers, overcame fickle fans and provided decent music along the way. Game is now back with his sixth album, Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf. Once there was a lag between Game’s consistency of releasing albums (his third album came out in 2008, while its follow up took 3 years and a few label changes to see the light of day) but now an onslaught of releases from him have been unleashed, including both mixtapes and studio albums. Does Game have much more to prove after almost 10 years of rhyming?
1. Bigger Than Me
Produced by Jordan Mosley
A lot can be said about Game’s music and his intro tracks are something worth noting. Game goes hard on this opening song, setting the album into a good pace already. Of course name-dropping is happening all over the place here but can we expect anything else from Game? Game proves to be a self aware and honest artist when he not only acknowledges his constant use of famous people’s names but also kindly asks you to suck his dick while counting his name drops. Along with chainsaw sound effects Jayceon claims to be the Black Marshall Mathers and even disses all of the Freshmen cover in just a couple of bars. A pleasing and menacing start to the album, with a vicious beat by Jordan Mosley to compliment Game’s fury.
Produced by Matthew Burnett
One of the greatest aspects of this perfectly themed song is Game’s change of flow that rides the layered beat. The ghost of DMX’s prime was channeled for this dark and chilling gangsta track with Game saying some pretty horrific lines.
I tie up your wife, pull out my dick jack it off, kiss the knife
Before I cut her, take my jacket off, fuck her then hit the lights
Rub it in there like Detroit streets, with pictures of me
Fuck her till cops come, then I’m bustin’ like
It’s probably a good idea to point that “F.U.N.” isn’t a nice acronym. I’ll let you figure out the rest. Plus there’s a sneaky G-Unit diss in there too.
Featuring Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Soulja Boy, & T.I.; Produced by The MeKanics & OZ
Even though it’s early on Game is on a roll with this album so far. This song is loaded with features but they all fit in perfectly. Yes even Soulja Boy who sticks to the chorus. Yo Gotti, T.I., and 2 Chainz do their thing well but it’s Game who steals the show. This Compton MC has stepped his game up (pun intended) immensely! There might be a calculated reason why Game’s verse is last, it really is a hard act to follow with its clever wordplay and insane delivery. The beat is so beautifully dark and threatening it could fit into a Dark Knight movie scene perfectly with its epic rise that eventually lands into some head bobbing territory.
4. Fuck Your Feelings
Featuring Chris Brown & Lil’ Wayne; Produced by Ocean & Nova
With this basic ass chorus and Auto-tune (not to mention it’s attention grabbing features) “Fuck Your Feelings” shapes up to be a song that should be skipped…on first listen. After a few spins this song manages to grown into its own radio friendly and ignorant zone. Chris Brown’s gangsta bravado is laughable, especially over Auto-tune but I can’t help but enjoy this song. No apologies, fuck your feelings.
5. On One
Featuring King Marie & Ty Dolla $ign; Produced by Isabella Summers
Ok speaking of guilty pleasure songs Game has teamed up with Ty and King Marie to make two in a row. It can’t be helped, blame Isabella Summers‘ perfectly fun beat even though it does bite DJ Mustard’s style. Especially blame Ty Dolla and Marie for their rhythm and harmonies. The ironic thing is that Game is so out of place here it sounds like he’s been handed eviction papers as he’s laying down his verse. He’s not terrible and should actually be applauded for branching out. Somebody like Snoop might actually do a better job of it though.
6. Married to the Game
Featuring French Montana, Dubb, & Sam Hook; Produced by Boi-Ida
The album does a 180 and goes back the dark, moody beats we’ve been used to so far. Boi-1da produces a banger of a track with this one. French Montana kind of drags this song down but DUBB and Game keep the track bearable. Sam Hook brilliantly handles the chorus (Side note: hahaha at that name).
7. The Purge
Featuring Stacy Barthe; Produced by Cozmo
Game gets deep here with bars that are almost touching but kind of brutal. Game takes the time to speak on local and international social issues while venting his anger and hate towards those who cause the world to be a fucked up place. Mike Brown’s killers to the theories of who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 are spoken on. The topic goes deep without sounding forced or corny.
8. Trouble On My Mind
Featuring Dubb & Jake&Papa; Produced by Cash Jones & Stat Quo
Reaching this point of the album it’s clear that the beat selection is something Game should be applauded for due to my head having not stopped bobbing since the album’s first track. Dubb not only makes his second appearance (so far) on the album but he’s actually the only person to spit a couple of 16s on this song. Game is nowhere to be seen or heard. Doesn’t mean the track is bad, it’s just a bit of a head scratcher as it’s very easy to picture Game riding this track with ease.
Featuring DUBB; Produced by The Mekanics
If someone was to say that DJ Premier produced this track I don’t think many people would disagree or look for further clarification. The truth is that The MeKanics have crafted a sneaky dope beat that has enough horns to make the devil jealous. Game powers through the track nicely though Dubb’s third appearance on the album is questionable. What’s more questionable is the weird fucking skit at the end of this track. Ummmm, find out for yourself if you’re curious enough.
10. Best Head Ever
Featuring Tyga & Eric Bellinger; Produced by League of Starz
This is how you ruin a perfectly good beat. You have a shallow and stupid concept for a song, throw Tyga onto the repetitive chorus and that’s it! Follow those two basic steps to make an even more basic song.
11. Or Nah
Featuring Too Short, Problem, & AV; Produced by DJ Mustard
Parts of me want to hate on this song: its poppy overtones, the countless features, the almost annoying chorus, and the deceiving Too Short “feature”. But I just can’t. It’s a fun track that doesn’t break any new ground but would get a crowd moving thanks to DJ Mustard’s signature sounds. We don’t have to be gangsta all the time do we? The deep bass and Funkadelic cords make for a good song.
12. Take That
Featuring Tyga & Pharaoh Jackson; Produced by Jereme Jay
Tyga? I thought we already went through this. Sure things were OK between us when “Rack City” came out but featuring on 2 tracks on one album is a little much buddy. We need some time away. Who the listener needs to hear more of is Game, who again didn’t bother to show up for this track. Why not cut the fat and take off the tracks you’re not featured on? This isn’t The Chronic 2001 homie.
13. Food For My Stomach
Featuring DUBB & Skeme; Produced by Duke Dinero
So it’s becoming clear that Game is attempting to give a platform to some young Californian rappers, which is admirable by not appearing on these tracks himself. Precious real estate on one’s album isn’t normally given up like that so kudos to Game for putting his money where his mouth is. Game could have made this a hidden bonus track but put in the middle of the playlist which is a risky move. This track is average and has some grating Auto-tune and slick gangsta talk. Besides the songs placement on the album this isn’t showing us anything we haven’t heard before.
14. Hit ‘Em Hard
Featuring Bobby Schmurda, Skeme, & Freddie Gibbs; Produced by Amadeus
A new hunger has been shown by Game throughout this CD and the beat selection reflects that. As we near the end of the album the tally for hard beats/hard rhymes is pretty high. With a title like “Hit ‘Em Hard” that shouldn’t be a surprise. Freddie Gibbs’ verse steals all the attention on this bravado filled track, spitting his rhymes in a frantic voice that attempts to keep up with the beat’s intense pace. Some ignorant meat headed rap that sounds oh so right.
15. Black on Black
Featuring Young Jeezy & Kevin Gates; Produced by The MeKanics & Yung Ladd
One thing Game falls victim of is emulating the people who feature on his songs. Artists like Bigge could get away with it (“Notorious Thugs”) but sometimes Chuck Taylor doesn’t make a good job of it. Here, he walks the line. The problem with copying the style of the featured artist on your song is that you pretty much make the song theirs in the end. The final track sounds more like a Jeezy song featuring Game & Kevin Gates. This doesn’t equate to a bad song though as each rapper prospers. The beat is airy and the strings it features are a nice touch. As you can imagine from the Jeezy feature, this is a hustler’s anthem that ends the album nicely.
After floundering around a bit The Game has shown something that fans haven’t seen from him for a year or two and that’s hunger. It’s obvious in his delivery and how hard he goes through out the album that the Compton MC is willing to eat rappers, young and old, in order to get his credit. While it’s not his greatest album by any means Blood Moon still stands out as one of Game’s best. On Game’s first two albums he had a lot to prove. His debut album, The Documentary, had to meet fan’s expectations of being a new rapper in the industry. The Doctor’s Advocate had him scrapping to prove he could make quality music without the help of 50 Cent or Dr. Dre. Game has wasted no time since then to bring out several albums and countless mixtapes. One thing that faults this album is the fact that Game has as many features as he does name drops. A handful of tracks have him just spitting by himself and prove that he can hold his own but just like Jesus Piece and The R.E.D. Album, there is an overload of features. Though his heart is in the right place by leaving himself completely out of two tracks (“Food For My Stomach” & “Take That”) in order give newcomers Dubb, Pharaoh, and Skeme a chance at proving their worth on their own, it’s still a little strange to have the tracks feature in the middle of the album. Shifting those to bonus tracks may have let Game trim the fat a little.
Hard-hitting tracks like “Bigger Than Me”, “F.U.N.”, & “Hit ‘Em Hard” shows a rapper that’s hungry. Game is rapping like he’s still living in a dope spot, trying to make it big. More established rappers need to follow suit with this kind of mentality. It’s worked for artists like Method Man and it sure as hell is working for Game. A refreshing aspect is on the production side, with Game selecting a majority of beats from producers he hasn’t worked with before. Perhaps this was a way to breathe in life into his music. Blood Moon is an album that will take a few spins to grow on listeners. Fans of Game who prefer his 2005 era will hear glimpses of that here but for the most part this a 2014 Game that’s howling at the moon. His howl demand blood, attention, and most of all respect.